The future of the left: could it be Carlota Perez?
I understand that the last seminar in The Guardian’s Capitalism in Crisis series was accompanied by many despairing “but what is to be done?” type questions. Owen and Nigel have reflected this sense on this blog pointing out that there seems little concrete for the left to offer by way of compelling economic narratives or visionary alternatives. The right, of course, are simply basking in the rising appetite for political change and so aren’t even bothering to offer anything that makes economic sense (something they may regret if they actually win power next year).
So it was with great relief that I have immersed myself in the work of the economist Carlota Perez over the last couple of weeks. Perez’s work offers a powerful and original narrative of the current crisis. It explains where the world currently sits both economically and politically with the crash and recession as one part of a much longer cycle of change dating back to the early 1970s and the rise of new technologies and business practices. The truly striking thing is that her work predicts the financial bubble of last year and the resulting recession. Most gratifyingly her meticulous analysis is not based on the discredited methods of mainstream economics (heavily influenced by neo-classical models and approaches) but on the unfashionable study of economic history.
But the most interesting (and maybe surprising) aspect is her optimistic prediction that while the next few years will be very difficult, there is a good chance of a golden economic era over coming decades characterised by progressive principles of a fairer distribution of wealth and rising affluence for all.
If I’ve whetted your appetite, Perez has written a short article for Open Democracy which is accompanied by a very useful piece on her work by Mary Kaldor. If you want to go a bit deeper, I found these two articles extremely useful.
Read up on her now. I think we may be hearing a lot more of Carlota Perez in the future.